Friday, March 7, 2014

Independent Publishing—Self-Publishing is all Grown Up

by Edie Melson

Self-publishing is all grown up.
There was a time, many years ago, that I would have much rather remained unpublished rather than admit to self-publishing. Back then the companies who charged you to publish your work were referred to as Vanity Publishers. Many of those companies charged thousands of dollars and left the author with boxes and boxes of questionable books.

Not any more.


Today's independent author has many options.
Self-publishing is all grown up. There are lots more options for writers today—from full-service companies to do-it-yourself print on demand. Today’s independent author (the new term for writers who choose to chart their own course) has lots of choices when it comes to producing our own books.

Beyond that, the overall standard that a self-published book must meet has risen. Authors have recognized the value of engaging editors to ensure the resulting book is held to comparable standard we used to only find in traditionally published books.

And have you see the covers?

This is an upcoming book from
Charity Tinnin, one of my crit partners.
The book covers on independent books are stellar. They’re imaginative, compelling and add to the first impression. They truly reflect the excellence within these books. It may still be difficult to find all the independent options at your local brick and mortar store, but that too is changing. And I guarantee you can’t tell the self-pubbed from the traditionally pubbed.

These savvy independent authors are often on the front line of publishing. Many of them are what’s known as hybrid authors. They have some books that are traditionally published and others they’ve published themselves.

But they have one thing in common, they’ve learned how to find and engage their audience. Independent authors have a fiercely loyal following of readers, and there is a lot we can learn from them when it comes to marketing. They know how to use the tools available to the twenty-first century wordsmith, utilizing social media and the power of the world wide web.

Even with all the hats an independent author must wear, at the core of every successful book is a writer who has taken time to learn the craft. Self-publishing has never been a viable short-cut, although many have tried to use it that way.

In addition, today’s reader is savvy. They aren’t taken in by a substandard product. There are too many choices out there for them to waste time on a writer who doesn’t bother to learn how to write. The bar is set high, and excellence matters when an author ventures into this arena.

I have some places on the web where I like to go for tips and tricks to navigating the independent author’s life. Today I’m going to share a few with you. I don’t read every article on all of these websites and some are very secular in nature, so be warned.
http://www.indieauthornews.com
http://catherineryanhoward.com
http://www.thebookdesigner.com
http://jakonrath.blogspot.com
http://www.tribalauthor.com/tribal-author-blog/
http://indiereader.com
http://www.publetariat.com
http://www.theindependentpublishingmagazine.com

But I really want you to add to the list. Where do you go to get the 411 on Indie Publishing? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation
Blessings,
Edie

TWEETABLES



25 comments:

  1. I haven't published a book yet, but I have been reading the options on www.bookbaby.com and trying to compare it to some others I have read about.
    Thanks again for all the great tips. Hope you have a blessed day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barbara, I love all the options that are open to authors now! Blessings, E

      Delete
  2. Wow! It seems indie-pub is on EVERYONE's mind these days. Maybe because I just became an indie author and it only seems that way, tho my plan is to be hybrid one day. I've learned a lot over the last few months as I've spent more time among real, honest-to-goodness, money-making, indie authors. It is a viable alternative as long as you don't, as you mentioned, use it as a short cut. Much of the thinking in the indie world is that you sell your books by establishing a reputation for quality. You can't do that unless you are putting out quality. Thanks for the websites. Adding them to my list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Much of the thinking in the indie world is that you sell your books by establishing a reputation for quality. You can't do that unless you are putting out quality."

      Hear, hear! Authors might be able to get away with self-publishing one substandard book, but if you're goal is a career as an indie author, you must strive for excellence.

      Delete
    2. Connie, Charity is so right. And she's part of the up-and-coming new trend of excellence in Indie Publishing. Blessings, E

      Delete
  3. We can always count on you, Edie, to provide good advice and links. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad to be helpful! Blessings, E

      Delete
  4. Thanks for the information. One question or thought. Many people I know think of self-published authors as less than traditionally published authors. How does someone get around that, or is that changing too?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ellen, thankfully that is changing. Blessings, E

      Delete
  5. Are you in my head today? This is all I've been thinking about this week. I'll keep trying the trad route, but I see no reason to let good work die on the vine just because some publisher doesn't have a spot for it. And that's my question of the day: where does one begin?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I started considering indie publishing seriously, I camped out here: http://www.susankayequinn.com/p/for-writers.html. Sue offers tons of great advice and resources.

      Delete
  6. Oh, and I see you don't have Joanna Penn listed up there. She's great. Here's her website: http://www.thecreativepenn.com/

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great stuff Edie! As a Indie/Hybrid I am loving this new era of opportunity - but you're absolutely right, the opprotunity is there, but it shouldn't be used as a shortcut. In fact, Charity Tinnin (the owner of that FAB cover in your post) and I were talking the other day about how we feel like as an indie, you actually have to produce a much higher quality product then you'd do in trade if you want to be taken seriously and you want to sell. Its a lot of work - hard work. Harder than any of my trade stuff has ever been. But its very rewarding.

    Great website list! I'd add these too:
    Successful Indie Susan Kaye Quinn blogged a step by step guide for people thinking of "going indie" - http://www.susankayequinn.com/p/for-writers.html
    NY Times Best Selling Indie Hugh Howey resently launched a website devoted to showing how much indies vs. trade make - http://authorearnings.com/
    And, as a Hugh Howey fangirl, I go to his site every day too for his latest advice: http://www.hughhowey.com/

    Best of luck everyone!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jess, you are so right - and definitely one of the experts! I'm so excited what you and Charity are doing to further the options authors today have available! Blessings, E

      Delete
  8. I love your thoughts, Edie. Perception about self-publishing has definitely shifted in the last two years, and I think it will continue to grow a more sound, respected reputation.

    And thanks for using my cover! Packaging (cover, formatting, and book description) is extra important for indie authors like myself because we don't have the prestige of a publishing house behind us. That first impression must be a compelling one, and I could not be happier with the design team I contracted with. Their work on the cover alone has built a pre-release buzz about Haunted that I couldn't have fostered myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Charity, thank you for letting me snag it! And promise me you'll come on and share a post with us about your own Indie journey! Blessings, E

      Delete
    2. Of course. Whenever you'd like!

      Delete
  9. I will definitely take a look at your links, I have self- published three children's books, (series title: Edwin the Entrepreneurial Bear) but I still need to learn how to promote my books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark, I'm glad to help and I wish you the best with your series! Blessings, E

      Delete
  10. I'm so thrilled you're highlighting the positive things about self-pubbing, Edie. I, too, didn't consider it an option just a couple years ago, but honestly the quality is now amazing and authors are juggling many hats quite effectively. Those who started out years ago are more than willing to share info with "newbie-er" indies like myself. And yes, Charity's cover is so eye-catching and her book sounds interesting! As far as indie blogs, I love Joanna Penn's, not to mention Joel Friedlander's The Book Designer blog. I will add that Novel Rocket is also a great place to go and is integrating more and more indie-oriented posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heather you are another Indie author who has set the bar so high. I LOVE your book, GOD'S DAUGHTER! I'd like to extend the same offer to guest post to you as well. Blessings, E

      Delete
    2. Edie, how sweet of you! Happy to anytime! I'm so pleased how you're bolstering indies with your blog!

      Delete
  11. Having coined the term "hybrid author" on my blog in June 2011, it's been interesting to see the wheel get reinvented over and over. Those of us who jumped ship from NY in 2009/2010 looked ahead and saw what few saw. What's funny is that now, in 2014, many still fail to see the handwriting on the wall. To me a telling statistic few are noting is HQ's constantly falling earning every single quarter. Yet the CEO of HQ, just today, acted like they'd weathered the storm and things were going to be okay. I wish I had whatever it is he's imbibing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob, so very true! The signs were there years ago and you must have been among the first to recognize the trend. The audience is definitely out there if we are willing to bend to the new world of authorship and break away for those with their heads in the sand. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! Blessings,

      Delete
  12. I self-published two years ago with my first novel and I always felt as if I had to explain why I didn't have it traditionally published to people. It is refreshing now to see the shift in the public's perception of self-publishing. I'm working on my second book now, and though I'd like to be traditionally published, I certainly will hold my head up high if I do go the independent route. Thanks for sharing the links!

    ReplyDelete